Saturday, January 20, 2007

Life in THE Lane

Last post I talked about my Dad and his 90th birthday. The Sault Star had a headline last Saturday about him titled “Life in the bowling lane” -- This had led to the title for my post -- which might been– in to-days’s way of speaking “Life in the fast lane – NOT”.

This week as I was clearing snow from the driveway I was thinking about how much my Dad had influenced my life and how blessed I was to have a father who had helped me find a relationship with our heavenly Father.

It came home to me that many have not had this type of guidance and example. This lead me to think that we all have different relationships with our parents and we all are at different places in our relationship with God.

Most parents we have desires and hopes for their children and most children are strongly influenced by their parents (or someone who fills the role of a parent). I also came across a blog entry by a mother who was hurting badly because here son had chosen to turn his back on God – abandon his wife & children and life a selfish, self-centred “prodigal” life.

At the risk of oversimplifying this complex relationship between parents and children I see four possibilities

1. Godly parents – Godly children

2. Godly parents -- “prodigal” children (by this I mean those who spurn the inheritance of righteousness that God can provide and choose to serve other gods – pleasure, money, etc. and this may include "good" people who are very successful using the standards of this world)

3. “prodigal” parents – Godly children

4. “prodigal” parents - “prodigal” children

Now ultimately, it is God’s determination – not mine - where we are in this picture as parents and as children . My task both as a parent and as a child is to seek God in faith and receive his gracious righteousness that comes not from my efforts but from the sacrificial work of our Savior .

The other thing that is true is that this is not a static picture. Our relationship with our parents can (and will) vary significantly over time. There were times when I went my own way despite my parents wishes, there were times when I thought my father was “out to lunch” and there were times when his example left an impression on me when I would have been better off without that example.

Equally, it is true that the strength of my relationship with God and my commitment to loving Him and following his guidance has varied – and still does to some extent.

So this list of 4 possibilities is most useful when we step back and look at the “big picture”. When we are on a journey sometimes we take a wrong turn or have to make a detour that gets us a little off track. But if we show our trip on a map of the country, this “blip” wouldn’t even show up – it would show we were on the right road heading for our destination. On the other hand if (as happened in the movie “Dumb & Dumber”) we turn around and go the opposite direction for several hundred miles we could see clearly we were not going the right way.

So what’s my point?

One thought is that regardless of the road taken by our parents the important thing for each one is to seek THE road that leads to righteousness. We don’t want to be in the “fast” lane, or the “slow” lane, the “wealth “lane” or the “self” lane –we want to be in THE lane – Jesus said “I am the WAY (lane), the truth and the life ‘ .. that leads to the Father.

It is wonderful if we have parents who show us the way but God is ALWAYS there and we can find HIS way even if we don’t have that example. On the other hand, all the example in the world of faithful parents has no value if I choose to go a different way. We each choose and we each arrive at the destination that results from our choices. So,first & foremeost, I want to be in THE lane that leads to life.

Another question that came to my mind was “Why is it that children of Godly parents sometimes fail to follow that example and take a different direction?” and “How is it that children of “prodigal” parents can find thier way to a strong relationship with God?” To this question, I don’t have an answer to that satisfies me.

However, I am more and more convinced that the road we choose is the result of the people who influence us --- and so either we have been influenced by some part of our parents choices or someone else has provided that influence. I think more & more the key question isn’t “What road or you on?” but “who influenced you to choose that road?” –Understanding that question can be a start to then asking “Are you sure that their direction is the one you want to follow?”

Well – it has been an interesting week. Winter is here for sure. We had freezing temperatures and about 6 inches of snow. I was out clearing the driveway twice. This morning it was around -20C (below 0F). Tuesday was a bright crisp 10C day – if every day in winter were like that I’d think winter was great. I have been walking almost everyday and when you get going it is enjoyable –especially when you can hear fresh snow crunch underfoot.

One of the things I didn’t mention when talking about my Dad’s 90th is that he has congestive heart failure which requires him to take “water” pills and to watch closely for fluid build up. He had ended up in hospital the week before his party and had a session with a nurse who specializes in dealing with this situation.

One of the things she wanted him to do was weigh himself each morning to allow early detection of fluid buildup – before he got so congested he couldn’t breath properly. Linda went out and bought a digital scale with large numbers and we had an interesting time figuring out how it worked and getting it set up in alocation were he could do those daily measurements. I think it is going OK but I will be there later today to check it out and see how it is going. I’ve talked to him every day this week (except yesterday) and saw him 3 or 4 times).

Yesterday was a quiet day. Tuesday Linda had a dental checkup and cleaning. While there they discovered a loose bridge and Wednesday she went back to have that checked further. The dentist discovered that one of the anchor teeth (very back) had decayed and it had to be extracted. This means that she no longer has an anchor tooth and so the bridge can’tbe easily replaced. She has had a fair bit of pain and so has been resting a lot. Yesterday we spent a quite a bit of time watching TCM (Turner Classical movies) including A couple of Neil Simon films – The Odd couple (Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathieu) and Barefoot in the Park (Robert Redford and Jane Fonda). Both are light hearted and entertaining and we enjoyed that a lot.

Wednesday afternoon I started a small project that had been “on the shelf” for about 5 years. We had installed “click lock” laminate flooring in our hallway and we had ¼ round to put around the edges – which hadn’t got done at the time and ended up on the “backburner”. So I started fitting this. I have about ¾ of it cut and hope to finish it to-day or early next week.

Yesterday, I had a coffee and conversation with my friend Russ Ward. We talked about ways of serving others as part of our “mission” and ways to involve children and youth in those efforts. May God work good as we pursue some of the ideas we discussed.

I also did a little bit of visiting and talking in the “virtual” world of the INTERNET. I am into January trying to catch up on the Berean list.

Here are someof the things I came across

Bill Williams at the Spiritual Oasis pointed me to Neva - from Texas (click HERE ) who has a great blog. One of her posts contributed to my thinking about “prodigals”. In her post for January 19 she discusses the idea that worship means “blowing kisses” to God and that it is about God not about “entertaining” ourselves.

Bobby Valentine writes about his adventure relocating from Milwaukee to Tuscon and having his pipes freeze and bust the first week there. (click HERE)

I came across and shared an article in Christianity Today called “King Jesus” (click HERE)

John Dobbs (click HERE) continues to share about the work in Pascagoula and an exciting project called God Thirst (see his Thursday January 15 entry).

Well – I’m past my deadline for getting back on the road -- hopefully in THE lane. Later my friends and may

God Bless you.


Bill said...

Thanks for the tip-of-the-hat, my friend. I've really enjoyed these past few posts. Keep up the good work!!

Spiritual Oasis Blog

Neva said...

Thank you so much for your kind comments.
I too have wondered why prodigal children often have godly parents and vice versa. I have come to believe it has to do with seeking hearts. Seeking hearts always find, no matter where they are in the spectrum of life. God promises seeking hearts are always successful.
Peace to you.